It was the same story, minus the nasty ending – three friends, at the point of leaving high school, decide that they should set up a music store.

And against all sound advice, the trio goes ahead with the plan and succeeds.

But this story is only about one of them – Edwin Suen, the continuing force behind Melody Music Centre, a CD and cassette store in Yik Foong Shopping Complex in Ipoh, Perak.

Music was a bug that bit deeply and continues to cast its spell on the Ipoh guy. However, he grew up listening to it hanging around a friend from a well-off family.

“I always liked music, so, going to his house gave me the chance to listen to Led Zeppelin, Deep Purple, Free, Bad Company and Black Sabbath,” said the fan, also of the likes of, Jimi Hendrix, Metallica and Scorpions, artistes who have all, unsurprisingly, sold well for him over the years. In fact, he was headbanging to his favourite German band when Scorpions played in Malaysia on Oct 29.

Suen, like the dog listening to his master’s voice through a gramophone, has always been led by the music. And his interest in it has guided him to have an innate understanding of his clients’ needs. Predictably, his patrons are those of his generation, though Suen looks a very young 57-year-old.

“The people who still listen to CDs like that sound and also older music, so they continue to go for them,” he explained, revealing the sign of the times.

So, his genial personality comes in even more handily in connecting with his customers, who not only seek his advice in choice of music, but enjoy the casual dialogues with him, too.

For the musically-tuned Gen X-ers of Ipoh, Melody is hallowed ground. It was the music store we all ran to for our fix of the latest albums that received favourable reviews in the newspapers. And for the rock jocks, there was always plenty to savour, old and new.

And the biggest treat of all would be to talk tunes with Suen.


The Paper’s People is a weekly column which introduces Malaysia-based everyday folk, doing what they love. If you have any person to recommend, do let us know.